As I am currently in the process of writing a book, I am always on the look for a better way to write stuff down. While the publisher wants to have OpenOffice or Microsoft Word files, I am not perfectly happy with writing in either OpenOffice or NeoOffice. They both seem to bloated and full of stuff, all the time taking my attention away from just pure writing.
When looking for a simple note taking tool for OS X I came across a recommendation for WriteRoom, even though it is not a note taking tool per se. Turns out this is the most useful – and also simple – piece of software I have seen in a long time when it comes to getting the one task it was designed for done right: Write and don’t let anything distract you. This is how it’s done in WriteRoom; a fixed font display in a retro-looking green on an all-black background in fullscreen mode:
While at first I was a little skeptical I have come to love it. My iMac screen is not set to a very high brightness by default - but even when I dim it down to a minimum, it still somewhat hurts my eyes to look at the white page background when the room around me is dark (which it usually is at the time I tend to write the most). With DarkRoom this is not a problem anymore, and if you like other colors better than green on black, you can of course customize that as well.
However I am not sure I want to pay $30 for what is basically a standard text control wrapped in a full screen mode. Today I remembered I had never actually used Pages ‘09 from the iLife suite I bought when it came out for iPhoto’s Faces and Places features. But I knew that it sports a full screen mode as well. Unfortunately you cannot configure the display settings to use a different color than white for the “paper”.
So I just went ahead and created an empty document, placed a rectangular shape on it, filled with a black to dark gray gradient and put that into the background. Then I sent it to the page master and adjusted the default font color to white. Voila: A WriteRoom-esque full screen editor:
This works just as well – and the best is that I have already paid for it.